Legacy Research: Synthesizing Research and Presenting about Persistent Issues Facing Afghanistan (Day 2 of 2)

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SWBAT explain a key element in the legacy of the conflict in Afghanistan by reading multiple texts and reporting on them in a presentation.

Big Idea

My students tell us about the legacy of Afghanistan--complicated and worth studying. What's worth remembering as we go forward?

Legacy Research Project

15 minutes

Research Continues.  My goal today is to help students to move forward on their research on persistent issues into the future of Afghanistan.  This is important because Afghanistan is still in the news almost daily and will continue to be center stage for U.S. policy.  Now that my students have explored some key issues on a personal and humanistic level, I know that they will be more equipped to stay abreast of what is going on.  This research project is a way that they can do something with what they know.  

I have sized down the research project legacy writing glogster to include just a presentation, as I mentioned in my reflection yesterday.  Also, although I intended to guide students to use glogster.com for their projects, several have asked if they could do a poster, prezi.com, google presentation, etc.  I have decided to allow the format to be open at this point because I want to offer the students a range of options.  

The students were very intrigued by their topics yesterday, and I think that they will be interested to move into refining their questions and digging deeper into the information (W.9-10.7).

Two Research Issues have surfaced (again).  The first is that I need to develop a way of coaching students to refine their research questions.  As it stands, I will do this by circulating throughout the room and questioning them about interesting sub-topics.  The second is that I need to keep asking them about the quality of information that they are using as well as documentation.  Often, it seems, the students want simply to paste a URL address at the bottom of a slide and call it a day, but I am interested in continuing to foster strong practices of full citations whenever information is used.  

Refining Sub-Topics.  It's really difficult to understand how topics can be coordinated together or subordinated under a larger construct.  TagGalaxy.com is an interesting visual website that starts with larger constructs and then moves into more refined ones.  


Tag Galaxy is simple.  It requires the user to enter in a search term, which is "Arizona" in teh image here.  The names of various cities, biomes, and related topics surface and hover around the main concept as constellations of planets.  As the students view the related topics, they can begin to think about how they can use tag galaxy (or really, their own thinking) to generate search terms that might help them to integrate what they have read in the novel with informational sources that they will read (W.9-10.8).  

I will ask:

- What sub-topics do you expect to appear with the main topic of drones, the role of women, PTSD, or landmines?  Then, for each of these topics, I will enter a quick tag galaxy search at the front of the class. 

- Which of these sub-topics do you think would be compelling for the class?  

Tag Galaxy's images.  Where this site gets a little mindblowing is in the final stage.  Once a term is searched and narrowed down to its most/more specific construct (by clicking on smaller and smaller "planets"), then tag galaxy will dynamically populate the planet with images from flickr.com, and it does so in a mirrored globe fashion, pasting each image on a tiny square.  Of course, the sphere can be rotated and images can be enlarged quite quickly, so this is pretty simple and lots of fun. 


As the students successfully navigate search terms and sources (W.9-10.8) and read more deeply into their topics, I plan to guide them to read these sources carefully and go gain a strong understanding for the main idea of each as well as to think critically about how to report out these ideas in an interesting poster session that they will later conduct in class based on their writing across sources (W.9-10.9).


For your reference here are the sample topics:


Role of Women

Veterans' Issues/PTSD


Haid Karzai


Paired Work on Research

15 minutes

During the next segments of class, I expect to have students conduct paired research, adding information to their slides (SL.9-10.4) and creating interesting images.  I will be circulating around the room to remind them of the criteria for the assignment and to help them connect their research across sources and to create some relevancy statements.

I will ask (SL.9-10.1): 
1.) Why does your topic matter to the class?

2.) How can you make a strong case for your topic or cause so that the class learn meaningfully?

3.) What facts have surprised you?  How do you know that they are accurate?  How can you report them in an interesting way?

4.) How are you doing with addressing the criteria for this assignment?

Gloster/Poster Session


Below Standard

Meets Expecations

Exceeds Expecations

Quality of information:  you use 3-5 quality sources.




Quality of information on the topic includes specific information on the problem, why we should care, and what can be done about it.




Source information is cited. Works cited is posted on the glogster.







Visual display is interesting and well crafted.







Presentation is memorable: eye contact, personal explanations, and a sincere effort to persuade the class.






Students Present in museum format

20 minutes

I am planning, due to time constraints, to have each of the students present in an informal "museum format" to a couple of peers in class (SL.9-10.4).  I do this by having students pull up their presentations on their chromebooks and be ready to share it.  About a third of the class stays put at their desks, while the others "tour," which means to take in a presentation or two.  Imagine that roughly 7-10 presentations are running simultaneously, and the students can decide where to go, how long to stay, etc.  I find this format to be pretty strong, although it sound less structured than I typically like to be.  It has the benefit of informally allowing several students to present at once (SL.9-10.4) and to ask follow-up questions of each other (SL.9-10.1b). 

Depending on how time is running, you could expand this activity to be an entire class day, but I have it here is a medium-length episode. 


5 minutes

At the close of class, I will offer an exit slip (W.9-10.10):

What did you learn from your classmates?  What did you learn about Afghanistan that you don't want us to forget?